24584649Worm takes you to North Dakota, to the new oil fields that fracking has opened up, to the boom towns that have transformed a quiet rural state into a wide open lawless land of easy money and violent men. Anthony Neil Smith has built himself a solid rep as a writer of noir fiction, and this one is easily the best of the two or three I’ve read.

Finn, or “Ferret” as the other rig-workers call him, is a family man from Alabama come to make some bucks to take back home and improve life for himself, his wife, Dee Dee, and their little girl, Violet. The environment and his psychology turn against him. He’s a little greedy, you see, and more than a little naive. He has no idea of the stakes or rough play he’s letting himself in for when he agrees to grab some extra cash ferrying meth from the oil fields to the city.


The savagery of the characters he’s now involved with reaches far beyond anything he’s imagined. And, of course, once he’s in he knows to much to quit. We’re not talking just regular criminals here we’re talking–well I’ve already said too much. Suffice it to say poor Ferret’s venial sins hurtle toward the mortal in no time at all, as does the suspense and grotesqueness of this truly noir situation.

I understand Smith is dedicating his next book to my main mentor, Les Edgerton. Can’t wait.

sitting up clapping



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